Oct 11 2017


Published by at 9:07 pm under Hindi Cinema


Rape and revenge dramas can easily cross the line and feel lurid and/or exploitative. But Mom doesn’t feel that way since it treats the subject with the sensitivity it requires. But the revenge part of it pushes it from drama to a masala film.

The titular mom is Devki(Sridevi), a stepmom trying hard to earn the affections of her stepdaughter Arya(Sajal Ali) at home and a biology teacher at school. The dynamics between Devki and Arya are subtly done. Devki doesn’t try too hard to earn Arya’s love but her disappointment is obvious while Arya isn’t blatantly rude but her coldness towards Devki is expressed through small but significant actions. The dad is a mute spectator most of the time.

Arya is kidnapped and raped after a party she attends. The rape itself is not shown though there are enough hints to make us aware of the horror she is going through. The way Devki indirectly plays a part in the whole episode further pushes Arya away from her and Sridevi is terrific in these portions as she breaks down and later cares for Arya. The rapists are set free by the court and that pushes Devki to punish them on her own. Helping her is a private detective DK(Nawazuddin Siddiqui, almost unrecognizable) while a cop(Akshaye Khanna) is unhappy about the rapists being set free but isn’t about to let them be killed either.

It feels good to see Devki turn avenger and go after the people who destroyed her daughter’s life. It starts off plausibly enough as she takes some help to perform a kidnapping and some surgery. But things get overly cinematic. It becomes difficult to accept when she correctly finds and destroys hard drives from security cams, hacks into computers, modifies search history and fixes the time setting. Some background, some setup to lead up to all this would’ve helped. Maybe a background in computers. Maybe a quick lesson from Nawaz. But a biology teacher suddenly transforming into this cool, meticulous, multi-talented woman is difficult to swallow and takes away from the thrill of her actions.

A family vacation allows the climax to unfold in a snowy landscape that is both beautiful and bleak. Almost every step of it is predictable. But since the stepmom-daughter dynamics play as important a part as the revenge track, there is a particular moment among those steps that is crucial and that we know is coming. But it is still beautifully done and impactful, both in the way it is built up and in the immediate aftermath.

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